Vaccine inequity: Disparity in access to doses hits low-income countries, says WHO

Source: The post is based on the article “WHO releases first data on global vaccine market since COVID-19” published in PIB on 10th November 2022.

What is the News?

The World Health Organization (WHO) has released the Global Vaccine Market Report, 2022.

This is the first report to capture the implications of COVID-19 on global vaccine markets. 

What are the key findings of the report?

The vaccine supply base remains highly concentrated as ten manufacturers alone provide 70% of vaccine doses (excluding the COVID vaccine). 

Lack of equitable vaccine distribution: African Region received just 3% of all COVID-19 vaccine doses. 

– The HPV vaccine against cervical cancer has been introduced in only 41% of low-income countries – despite their carrying much of the disease burden – compared to 83% of high-income countries.

Affordability is an obstacle to vaccine access.

Free market dynamics is depriving some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people of their right to health. Therefore, changes are much needed in the global vaccine market to save lives, prevent disease and prepare for future crises.

What are the recommendations given by the report?

For Government: 1) Frame clear immunization plans and more aggressive investment and stronger oversight of vaccine development, 2) Emphasize on regional research and manufacturing hubs and 3) Pre-agreeing rules for government collaboration in times of scarcity on issues such as vaccine distribution.

For Industry: 1) Focus research efforts on WHO priority pathogens, 2) Ensure transparency and 3) Facilitate technology transfer and commit to specific equity-driven allocation measures. 

For International Organizations and Partners: 1) Prioritize Immunization Agenda 2030 goals, 2) Support country-driven initiatives and 3) Push for the application of resolutions on market transparency.

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